Low-carb diets are nothing new. For a while they were very controversial but over the last decade have gained acceptance over the world.
They have been shown to cause more weight loss than low-fat diets. Not only this, but they help improve HDL’s (good cholesterol), blood sugar and blood pressure.
However, like everything there are lots of different methods of doing this, so we have outlined some of our favourite’s below!
Your Average Low-Carb diet
- A normal low-carb diet isn’t fixed by definition, this eating behavior generally just reduces carbs and increases other macronutrients like protein and fats. It’s often composed of foods like meats, eggs, fish, seeds, nuts and vegetables.
- Ideally you want to be keeping your consumption of foods like potatoes, grains, sugary drinks / foods to a minimum whilst consuming more of the foods listed above.
- Consuming different amounts of carbohydrates has different effects on the body. As a bit of a guide please see below.
- 100-150 grams – Consuming this quantity of carbs is ideal for weight maintenance or if you are a regular high-intensity exerciser. You can be very flexible with the fruit & potatoes you’re eating.
- 50 – 100 grams – Cutting your carbs down to this bracket has been shown to aid slower and steadier weight loss or maintenance. You can still be fairly flexible with the different kinds of fruit and vegetables you’re eating.
- Under 50 grams – This is aimed towards more rapid weight loss. Here you’re going to be eating an abundance of vegetables but limiting fruit intake to berries or fruits with low glycemic indexes.
The Low-Carb, High Fat (LCHF) Diet
- This diet is a fairly common low-carb diet, however what it really promotes is the consumption of much more whole, unprocessed foods.
- Whilst following this diet you’ll be eating lots more meat, fish, eggs, cheese (and other dairy products), vegetables, nuts and berries to limit carbohydrate consumption.
- Typically following a LCHF diet the carbohydrate intake can be anywhere between 20-100 grams per day.
The Ketogenic Diet
- This diet is a super low carbohydrate diet with emphasis on consuming lots of fat.
- The point of keeping your carb-count so low & your fat consumption so high is to move your body into a metabolic state called ketosis
- Whilst your body is in this state, research shows that insulin levels significantly drop and your body releases large quantity of fatty acids from its fat stores.
- A large proportion of these fatty acids are transported to the liver, where they are converted into ketones. These ketones are soluble in water, which allows them to cross the blood-brain barrier giving energy to the brain.
- So rather than functioning on carbs, your brain becomes reliant on these ketones. However your body will always still produce small quantities of glucose which is absolutely essentially for your brain to function.
- This diet requires you to eat much more protein & foods higher in fat. Keto dieters often look to keep carbohydrates to less than 50g per day, with some being as strict as 20g per day.
- As this one may be a bit trickier to understand, allow us to summarise it for you!
- A ketogenic diet is based around significantly reducing carbs which will enter your body into a metabolic state called ketosis. It has been shown to be a very effective diet to lose fat but also has evidence behind it suggesting it may help protect you against a range of diseases.
- There are people out there who would rather completely stop eating carbs all-together.
- This is called the Zero-carb diet – Whilst following this diet it’s likely you will only be consuming foods from animals, these include meats, fish, eggs and animal fats (butter & lard).
- However, this diet is controversial because it’s obviously very restrictive on the nutrient and vitamins you’re going to absorb.
In a NutshellIf you’re new or an experienced low-carb dieter, it’s really important that you pick a plan that suits you and your way of life. What works for your friends might now work for you, the best thing that you can do is pick a plan that you know you can stick to.